These days, every rapper wants to spread the wealth around. Eminem introduced us to his copycat group D-12. Amazingly, Nelly’s St. Lunatics are even less talented than their mentor. Hell, even Jay-Z and Nas can agree on one thing. Their respective apprentices (Freeway, Beanie Segal and The Bravehearts) don’t bring much to the mic.
In 1996, Snoop Dogg attempted to start the Doggy Style imprint as a subsidiary of Death Row Records. He signed a group called Tha LBC Crew and old-timer Charlie Wilson, among others. Give Snoop’s Doggfather release a listen if you want to hear how bad these guys were. Unfortunately, we all know how the Snoop/Death Row relationship turned out and with it, the demise of Doggy Style Records.
Fast forward to 1999, where Snoop creates Dogg House Records. The label’s first release, by west coast duo Tha Eastsidaz goes platinum. A few months later the now-disbanded gangsta girl group Doggy’s Angels released a poor-selling, but surprisingly decent album. Of course, there are no constants in hip hop. Some copyright drama forces Dogg House to become Doggy Style, once again. Tha Eastsidaz rush their mediocre sophomore album to the shelves and leave the label over financial beef. Finally, Snoop’s first solo release on his own label, Paid Tha Costâ€¦ (click drop-down menu below for my review) was a commercial flop.
Snoop’s rolling the dice and hoping that Welcome to Tha House can produce the talent he can ride into the next decade. The breakout performer here is Priest “Soopafly” Brooks. He was affiliated with Death Row back in the 1996-97 timeframe and dropped the occasional verse, along with some production and ghostwriting credits. He shines on the ode to chronic cut Doh Doh and comes correct even when the beats ain’t tight like on Hey You and Are You Ready?.
E-White is another little-known artist featured here who’s ready for a breakout year. His performances are solid, even though he doesn’t get any solo mic time. Still, he’s the main reason why a track like Dogg House America has any business sounding good. His give and take with veteran RBX on Doin’ It Bigg is decent, yet hampered by a weak hook. While he absolutely burns it up on the posse cut Not Like It Was.
The Lady of Rage has the best track here. Unfucwitable is the definition of hotness as she simply kills an equally blazing DJ Premier beat. Unfortunately, the quality of the album takes a nosedive after this track. There are R&B attempts like the repetitive Trouble and the maudlin It Feelz Good that fall flat. While the generic hood themes on Don’t Make A Wrong Move and Squeeze Play are just disappointing filler.
I also promised myself that I’d save a paragraph for another Doggy Style artist, Mr. Kane. He is one of the most annoying talents in the game. He’s right up there with P. Diddy, Baby and Ja Rule. We’re talking fingernails on a chalkboard kind of bad. When he’s not ruining a track with his scratchy, whiny hooks, he’s displaying embarrassingly bad skills as a “rapper” on the awful Nite L.O.C.s.